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Club Update – 19th January

Since we learnt of the decision to suspend football below the Premiership and Championship last Monday it’s been, and continues to be, a busy time.

The news was disappointing but, as ever, we have to place that within the context of what families and communities are experiencing at the moment. Yet it is obviously still a blow for the game to be stopped and the potential consequences it presents.

As a Board, we are taking the necessary actions in the best interests of the club, in order to ensure that we get through this latest challenge. We recognise that this lockdown is different to the previous one. In the spring and summer of 2020, the real concern and priority was for the club’s survival. However, the generosity of supporters, the James Anderson monies and grants and additional support from the Government, including the furlough scheme, has significantly lessened those fears.

Despite that, this second lockdown will have considerable impact on our short to medium term objectives; from the January transfer window to preparations for next season. Will the season finish? Will it be shortened? If it finishes will it affect the composition of the leagues and play-offs? If the suspension is lifted, when can competitive action commence? Those are just a few of the questions circulating at moment. There is no agreed route back to playing football and little certainty of what happens next.

In the meantime, all players and certain football staff have been placed on furlough for the initial three-week period, with those involved in player transfer movement placed on flexible furlough. This arrangement may well be extended at the next review stage.

On a positive note, the benefit we do have is knowledge and learning from the past. Off the pitch, we are working closely with our peers to ensure that League 1 and 2 clubs assess how best to address these current issues.